Butler Fights Past Terps Into 3rd Round

Saturday, March 17th 2007, 4:50 pm

By: News On 6

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Butler can shed the mid-major label. A.J. Graves and company proved the Bulldogs can play with anyone _ including Maryland. Graves scored 19 points, including a clutch 3-point basket with 2:09 remaining to lift the Bulldogs to a 62-59 win over Maryland in the second round of the NCAA tournament Saturday.

Butler (29-6), the No. 5 seed in the Midwest Regional, advances to the round of 16 for the second time in school history. The Bulldogs did it previously in their last tournament appearance in 2003.

Maryland (25-9), making its first tournament appearance since 2004, has not advanced past the second round since 2003. The Terps were undone by an aggressive and smaller team, which kept their offense out of rhythm.

Brandon Crone scored with 3-minutes left to put the Bulldogs ahead 58-56. Then, after Maryland's Ekene Ibekwe missed a 6-footer, Graves hit a 3-pointer from the left corner to all but seal the victory.

In the final half-minute, with his team trailing by 2, Maryland coach Gary Williams decided to let Butler run down the clock. Butler missed in the final seconds but got the rebound, forcing the Terrapins to foul.

A free throw made it a 3-point deficit, and Maryland ran out of time before it could get off a final shot.

Mike Jones scored 21 for the Terps, but the team couldn't make up for D.J. Strawberry's tough night. The senior managed 8 points.

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